Joaquin becomes Category 3 hurricane, east of the Bahamas

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MIAMI — A strengthening Hurricane Joaquin approached the central islands of the Bahamas on Wednesday evening, following a projected track that would take it near the U.S. East Coast by the weekend.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the central Bahamas as the storm approaches.

Hurricane Joaquin's maximum sustained winds have increased to 120 mph. It is now a major hurricane, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center says additional strengthening is expected over the next two days.

The storm is centered just east of the central Bahamas, specifically the island of San Salvador. Joaquin's center is expected to pass over or near the central Bahamas Wednesday night or Thursday.

After that, it will take a turn up the east coast of the U.S. and possibly deliver some very heavy rain and strong winds to the Mid-Atlantic states.